Elon Musk wants SEC to probe Twitter’s daily user numbers


Elon Musk is calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate Twitter’s claims that less than 5% of its daily users are spam and bot accounts.

Musk, the Tesla CEO who said he would back out of his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter if the company failed to prove it was adequately cracking down on spam and bot accounts, posted a poll on Tuesday.

“Twitter claims that >95% of daily active users are real, unique humans. Does anyone have that experience?” Musk wrote.

The first option showed two hysterically laughing emoji faces while the second showed a robot next to the words “Who me?!”

When another Twitter user commented that the SEC should investigate whether Twitter’s claims are true, Musk responded: “Hello @SECGov, anyone home?”

Earlier on Tuesday, Twitter said it would not allow Musk to wriggle free from his $44 billion offer for the social media platform despite the multibillionaire’s threats to walk away if the company doesn’t prove it is sufficiently cracking down on spam and bot accounts.

The San Francisco-based company filed a statement with the SEC on Tuesday morning — hours after Musk tweeted that he may not proceed with the deal.

Musk said his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter may be off due to the prevalence of spam and bot accounts.

“Twitter is committed to completing the transaction on the agreed price,” the company said in its SEC filing.

The Tesla and SpaceX boss agreed to pay $54.20 per share for the site on April 25 but has seen shares plunge by 30 percent, closing at $37.15 on Monday.

Musk faces a $1 billion breakup fee, plus the risk of hefty legal expenses from a breach-of-contract lawsuit, if he scraps the deal.

Twitter has found itself on the defensive after Musk publicly trashed its policies on spam and bot accounts last week.

Parag Agrawal, the company CEO, took to Twitter on Monday in an effort to refute Musk’s claim that the social media site has allowed spam and bot accounts to run amok.

Spam “harms the experience for real people on Twitter,” he wrote, and the company is “strongly incentivized to detect and remove as much spam as we possibly can, every single day.”

“Anyone who suggests otherwise is just wrong,” Agrawal tweeted.

Musk appeared to be unimpressed, tweeting a poop emoji in response. He then commented: “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter.”

The company has admitted in filings with the SEC that about 5 percent of its 300 million users are fake.

Musk demanded Agrawal show proof or “This deal cannot move forward until he does,” in a tweet early Tuesday.

He added: “20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher.”

Last week, Musk claimed there is “some chance” the actual number of fake accounts on Twitter “might be over 90% of daily active users.”

Agrawal said operators of spam and bot accounts are becoming ever more sophisticated — which makes it harder for Twitter to identity and eliminate them.

Nonetheless, Agrawal claims that less than 5% of all of Twitter’s “monetizable daily active users” — or mDAUs — are spam.

He declined to reveal how the company came up with the 5 percent figure belonging to “monetizable daily active users” — or spam — though he said: “We shared an overview of the estimation process with Elon a week ago and look forward to continuing the conversation with him, and all of you.”

The company has admitted in filings with the SEC that about 5 percent of its 300 million users are fake
The company has admitted in filings with the SEC that about 5 percent of its 300 million users are fake.

Over the weekend, Musk tweeted that Twitter’s legal team accused him of violating a nondisclosure agreement by revealing that the sample size for the social media platform’s checks on automated users was just 100 accounts.

“Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100!” the Tesla CEO tweeted. “This actually happened.”

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